“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” [James 1:19-21]
The more our lives look like Jesus, the more our communication differs from those around us. People are desperate to be listened to, but it so rarely happens. Have you ever shared something personal and felt like the people around you didn’t care? It hurts, and it closes us off from the people around us. No wonder people walk around with a bunch of walls up. The walls are there because no one listened.
Think about what would happen if we took the time to ask questions without an agenda other than genuinely caring about their response. Think about what would happen if hurt people finally felt listened to and validated... Walls would come down, hearts would be opened up, collaboration would be an option. In short, our culture as a whole would look wildly different. As the people of God, we are called to listen to those around us and, in doing so, simply reveal the heart of God
Choosing to listen to someone is a deeply humble act. It expresses value to that person and their perspective, and it mutually opens up the hearts of those communicating. However, most people are rushing to get to the next thing. The time it takes to slow down, take notice of the people around us, and listen seems like a distraction rather than an opportunity. Yet, seeing the life of Jesus unfold in the Gospels, I see in Him one who allows himself to be interruptible. People who are neglected, overlooked and hurting come to Him and are validated and honored. And these peoples’ worlds are completely transformed because someone listened to them.
Today, choose to listen. It’s a choice. It’s a reflection of the heart of God. Everyone is desperate to be listened to. You get to be the starting point of someone’s world being transformed because you chose the simple but powerful opportunity to listen.
Dear Lord, I ask that you help me to listen to others in a way that deeply cares for them. Help me to help be apart of transforming peoples lives to know you better by simply being there for you. Amen.